After several quarters of declining activity, the most active startup investors got a little busier in the third quarter.
Per Crunchbase data, the four most prolific post-seed investors all participated in the same or more deals in Q3 than they did in Q2. Among the top 20, all but four partook in an equal or greater number of rounds.
For a sense of who’s topping the ranks, we list the top 22 below:
The stepped-up pace among the most active venture backers comes as overall startup investment picked up too. For Q3, global venture funding reached $73 billion — up a bit quarter over quarter, though still far below year-ago levels.
Among larger VCs, Andreessen Horowitz topped the ranks with 20 investments. This includes some of the quarter’s largest deals, such as Databricks’ $500 million Series I, Genesis Therapeutics’ $200 million Series B, and Inceptive’s $100 million Series A.
While Andreessen and Insight commonly rank among the most active venture investors, some other familiar names have recently moved much farther down the list. Tiger Global Management, SoftBank Vision Fund and Sequoia Capital, which were reliably among the spendiest and most prolific investors during the boom, collectively backed just 15 deals in Q3.
Busiest lead investors
Meanwhile, the ranks of most active lead investors also contain familiar names.
For Q3, Insight led nine rounds, making the firm the most active lead investor. Next up were Lightspeed Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, with eight and seven lead rounds, respectively.
For a broader view, below we list the nine most active investors in disclosed-size rounds:
Notably, the overwhelming majority of the most active investors did more deals in Q3 than they did in the prior quarter. Even so, activity levels remain far, far below what we saw during the market peak in late 2021.
Seed investors scale back
Seed-stage dealmaking has been weaker than other stages, posting a global sequential decline in Q3. That downward trajectory was reflected in the ranks of the most active seed investors, many of whom also backed fewer rounds in Q3.
Overall, Techstars led with the largest number of new disclosed seed deals, Next up was Y Combinator, followed by Dubai-based accelerator FasterCapital. Among the dozen most active seed investors, a majority did fewer deals in Q3 than in Q2.
For a bigger-picture view, we chart out the busiest seed investors of Q3 below, comparing recent activity to the prior quarter and year-ago levels:
A mixed picture
Broadly, these rankings of active investors paint a mixed picture of the state of startup funding. On the encouraging side, we are seeing some pickup in later-stage dealmaking from lows hit earlier this year.
However, the slowdown at seed is a concern, given that the most impactful and valuable venture-backed companies all have to start out at this stage. Fewer seed deals means a smaller pool from which future unicorns might emerge.
Additionally, it’s disconcerting to see many firms that invested prolifically during the boom times continuing to scale back dramatically. At the same time, we’re not seeing a lot of active contrarians willing to step up their game while others pull back.
Still, the broad trendline doesn’t look too bad. The busiest post-seed investors have gotten busier. Apparently, many of them were at least a little more confident in Q3 than they were in Q2.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
Search less. Close more.
Grow your revenue with all-in-one prospecting solutions powered by the leader in private-company data.
Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.